Tag Archives: 3Delight

Where does DAZ Studio store temporary renders

When DAZ Studio is finished rendering an image into a new window, we have the option to save it. But if we don’t do that, and there happens to be a power cut (and your computer is accidentally not connected to a UPS), where does that render go? Is it lost forever? Or is it saved somewhere secret?

Lucky for us, the render is indeed saved in a temporary location. By default, on Windows systems, the full path to temporary renders is

  • C:/Users/yourname/AppData/Roaming/DAZ 3D/Studio4/temp/render

If you can’t see the AppData folder, make sure you’re displaying hidden files and folders in Windows Explorer (under View – Options – Change folder options – View).

On Macs, the full path is

  • Library/Application Support/DAZ 3D/Studio4/temp/render

The Library can be reached when holding down CMD and selecting Go from the Finder menu.

Each temporary render is saved as a random letter or number. Note that as soon as you restart DAZ Studio, this folder is cleared! So the procedure upon DAZ Studio crashes or power cuts is to rescue those renders first, then restart DAZ Studio.

You can change the location of this folder under Preferences – General.





How to fix “The interface of shader xxx is invalid” in DAZ Studio

Sometimes, the 3Delight render engine in DAZ Studio can throw a hissy-fit and complain with the following error message:

3Delight message #45 (Severity 2): S2069: the interface of shader '/Users/versluis/Library/Application Support/DAZ 3D/Studio4/temp/shaders/brickyard/{407f8e5c-3a9b-4708-b5e5-799ff1fe7c1d}/shader_Surface.sdl' is invalid
3Delight message #45 (Severity 2): S2051: cannot load shader 'brickyard/{407f8e5c-3a9b-4708-b5e5-799ff1fe7c1d}/shader_Surface', will use 'defaultsurface'

3dl2-4This problem occurs frequently on complex shaders, such as human skin. I have no idea what causes it, because it appears to happen randomly and without reason. Here’s an example of how scary such an error can manifest in a render.

Even saving the scene and loading it may not resolve the issue. Which can be extremely annoying.

Lucky for us there’s an easy way to fix this, thanks to a tip from jestmart on the DAZ Forums. All we have to do is remove the temporary folder in which 3Delight compiles shaders to make rendering more efficient (where I guess sometimes an error can occur). So it’s not the scene or the actual shader that has a problem, it’s just the compiled version of the files before the engine can go to work.

Here’s what we can do to fix it: remove the brickyard folder in DAZ Studio’s temp folder. On a Mac it’s located in /Users/you/Library/Application Support/DAZ 3D/Studio4. Here, navigate to the temp/shaders folder and remove the brickyard folder (the error message shows the full path to that folder).

On a Mac, navigating to that folder via Finder only works with a trick, because the Library folder is hidden by default. You an either use the command line to navigate there, or use Finder and hold down ALT while you click on the Go menu item (this will show the Library option).

When the brickyard folder is deleted, simply start that render again. 3Delight will go ahead and re-compile all missing shaders – this time hopefully without adding freaky effects. There’s no need to restart DAZ Studio. Nice!





How to reduce the Depth-Of-Field frost effect in DAZ Studio

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 12.16.01

Something that’s always been bugging me is the “frost effect” that DAZ Studio introduces on renders with depth of field. The above picture is a perfect example of it.

Where does it come from, and how can we avoid it? I’ve mentioned two approaches in an earlier article that discusses how to setup depth of field, but neither of them are particularly satisfying.

Thanks to Paolo Berto Durante’s super helpful post over on the 3Delight forum, I finally understand the setting that can smooth away the frost effect: simply increase the Pixel Samples under Render Settings.

Screen_Shot_2015-06-10_at_19_00_30

In DAZ Studio, the default is 4 (for x and y). This is a good compromise between fast render times and good results. But this default is not so good for depth of field renders.

The screenshot at the top of this post was rendered with the default, 4 and 4. The grain is very noticeable and seriously ugly. But the following one was rendered using 8 and 8, barely increasing render times:

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 12.22.14

While a little frosty grain is still visible, it can be completely eliminated by increasing the Pixel Samples further. Here’s one I’ve made using 16 and 16. This did have an impact on render times though (added 50% give or take), but eliminated every trace of grain:

Screen Shot 2015-06-11 at 12.27.54

I’ve been using DAZ Studio since 2006 and have always hated this frost grain in DOF renders. I just never knew what to do about it. I wish those basics would be explained alongside tutorials that tell you how to do DOF in the first place (perhaps, dare I say it, the DAZ Studio User Manual is a good start).

Kudos to Paolo Berto Durante, in whose honour 3Delight Version 11 was named I believe. Check out his article on sampling noise to learn more about this scary topic:





How to render DAZ Studio RIB Files on another computer

I have previously described how to render DAZ Studio Scenes without DAZ Studio. This is done by rendering to a RIB File (RenderMan Interface Bytestream), using the standalone 3Delight Studio to create the final render. The procedure frees DAZ Studio up and allows you to work on your next scene without having to wait for the render to finish.

I generally use Xender for PC for my file transfer needs, but I’ve been looking for ways to transfer such RIB files to another computer which does not have the content or even DAZ Studio installed, and I think I’ve found another one!

When used as described in my previous article, DAZ Studio creates a RIB file that references temporary files as well files on the local system. Neither of those can be used on a different computer because they most certainly don’t exist. This means your render will likely be missing a few textures.

There’s a handy command line tool that will collate all those files needed to render the image. The drawback is that – depending on the size of your scene – this may result in a rather large file (1GB or more). However the approach is great if you’d like to render that super long animation for several weeks without blocking your regular office computer.

Here’s how to do it.

Continue reading How to render DAZ Studio RIB Files on another computer





How to batch render RIB Files on your Mac

If you’ve read my previous article about rendering DAZ Studio files without DAZ Studio, you already know that I’m big fan of batch rendering my images. For this I mainly use the excellent Batch Render Script by Draagonstorm. It allows me to queue up several scenes, and while I do something else, DAZ Studio will load up one after the other and render like a champ.

Windows users have a special treat that can have the same script create a .bat file, allowing the 3Delight standalone renderer to work on a batch of files without using DAZ Studio. Mac users don’t have such luxuries, and will still “block” DAZ Studio until all renders in the batch have finished.

I have good news: for the hackers among us, we can create such a batch queue on the Mac manually, using a simple Shell Script. In this article I’ll show you how to do it. Some Mac/Linux command line experience is necessary to follow along.

Continue reading How to batch render RIB Files on your Mac





How to create a 3Delight Shadow Catcher in DAZ Studio

Cat-CompleteSometimes we need to render images that include shadows without objects to cast them on. In multi-pass rendering for example, where we may have a background and would like to render a figure separately, the figure’s shadows can only be cast if the background is rendered at the same time.

It’s easy to do by creating a plane primitive, have our character walk on that, and turn it transparent. However, if an object is transparent, then no shadows are cast upon it. So how do we solve this conniving conundrum?

With DAZ Studio’s Shadow Catcher function of course! Shadow Catcher is a node (or brick) in Shader Mixer, which will let us do just that: render shadows without the plane underneath it. Let’s see how we can set this up.

Continue reading How to create a 3Delight Shadow Catcher in DAZ Studio





How to speed up rendering times (or improve quality) with 3Delight in DAZ Studio

It’s easy to reduce rendering times in DAZ Studio with 3Delight at the expense of quality. Likewise, it’s possible to greatly improve the rendering quality with the same setting: the secret lies in the Shading Rate Slider.

On the Render Tab, under Render Settings, take a look at a lone slider called Shading Rate. The default is 1 and it produces a good compromise between speed and quality.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 17.56.00

The higher the Shading Rate is set, the lower the quality of the image is – but at the same time, render times speed up. This is great to get an impression of the overall scene without having to wait ages.

Conversely, the lower the Shading Rate is set, the higher the render quality is as a result – which increases render times, but gives a very nice quality boost. It’s easy to overlook this setting!

Here are some example renders. Click on the images to see the full resolution at 1920×1080. No postwork was applied. The scene is Stonemason’s Tin Pan Alley with the Genesis Troll.

Shading Rate 1 (Default) – Render Time: 1 minute

Troll-SR1-1minThe default setting gives a good compromise between quality and speed. I always wondered how to make such a render look better. Continue reading How to speed up rendering times (or improve quality) with 3Delight in DAZ Studio





How to render with Depth of Field in DAZ Studio

Depth of Field is a photographic term that describes how much of a scene is in focus. In the 3D world this has to be calculated and switched on – because otherwise everything in a rendered scene is in focus.

A real world photographic lens doesn’t work that way: take a portrait with a long lens, and a smaller aperture will give you less depth of field than a wider lens, and vice versa.

Thankfully it’s very easy to enable this feature in DAZ Studio and set the focus of your virtual lens to the object of your desire. Here’s how to do it.

You’ll need a camera to proceed. Depth of Field doesn’t work with the Perspective View. It’s always a good idea to frame up the scene using Perspective View, and when you’ve found an angle you like, head over to Create – New Camera. The following dialogue box opens:

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 18.31.26If you apply the default settings (top option) your camera will be created facing down at the centre of the scene. Not what we want, especially given that the Perspective View already has the framing we want to use – so choose Copy Active View instead. This will create a camera with a framing identical to what you’re currently seeing.

At the top right corner of the viewport you can select which camera you’re looking through. Stay on Perspective View for now.

Select your camera in the Scene Tab and have a look at the Parameters Tab. Under Camera there’s an option called Depth of Field. Switch it on.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 18.26.29

Now move the perspective view so that you can see both the object you’d like to frame, as well as the camera. A side view works best. Here’s my scene: I’ve got the Troll framed up nicely on the right, and I can see the camera on the left.

Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 18.25.41

See all those faint white lines around the Troll? Those show up when Depth of Field is enabled. It’s a box that shows the part of your scene that will be in focus. Anything in front of the left square, and everything behind the right square will be out of focus.

To adjust those values, tweak the parameters of your camera:

  • Focal Distance will move the entire box towards or further away from the camera.
  • F/Stop will increase or decrease the width of the box. Just like in real life, a higher f-stop will give you a wider depth of field, while a lower f-stop will give you less depth of field. Real life values don’t necessarily yield the same results as in the 3D world.
  • Focal Length scales the box proportionately and will affect both how effective the F/Stop and Focal Distance values are.

Fiddle with those sliders until your scene shows what you’d like to see “in focus”, then do a test render and see your handy work. Make sure you select your actual camera under Render Settings, otherwise you may render the Perspective View instead (or simply switch the current view over to your camera, then press CMD/CTRL-R).

Troll-SR01-10min

Reducing the Frost Effect

Unlike other 3D applications, DAZ Studio (or rather, the 3Delight engine) does not apply the depth of field blur via postwork. Carrara and Blender do this, but 3Delight creates this effect at render time.

The problem is that it doesn’t do a very good job at it: if you look at a 100% zoom of the above scene, you’ll see that the blurred parts of the background look like frosted glass – not exactly realistic:

crop

I have not found a magic setting that will just eliminate this – if there is one, please let me know. Perhaps “rubbish mode” is turned on by default, and I just don’t know how to switch it off. Actually I have found the solution to this puzzle a few months after I wrote this: increase the Pixel Samples under Render Settings for the frost effect to go away. I’ve explained how to do it in this article.

Alternatively, there are two other ways to reduce this effect: via downsampling, or by using a layer mask and applying a blur effect to the background in Photoshop.

Downsampling

The frost grain will remain the same size, even if we render at a higher resolution. That’s a good thing: by simply increasing your images dimensions by a factor of two, we will end up with a larger image at the expense of higher render time.

If we then reduce the rendered image size again to the original dimensions, the grain size will be reduced.

Here’s an example: The above image was rendered at 1920×1080, then cropped to 100% so that you can see the frosty grain a bit better. I’ve rendered the same scene at 4000×2250 pixels, then reduced the image size in Photoshop back to 1920×1080, then cropped the image again:

crop-2x

Image quality hasn’t degraded, but the size of the grain has reduced. You could go even further and increase your image dimensions to 3 or 4 times the size of the original – if you have the patience to wait for the render to finish.

Applying a Blur Mask

A quicker yet slightly more fiddly way to get rid of the grain is to duplicate your image to a new layer in Photoshop, then apply a Gaussian Blur to the bottom layer. Now add a mask to the top layer and remove all unwanted grainy background detail from it so that the blurred background from the bottom layer is visible instead.

How exactly you create the outline is up to you: you could render the image twice, once without the background, and once without the figure, then combine the two; or draw a mask by hand; or use a quick selection technique of your choice.

Here’s my approach, in which I quickly drew a mask by hand:

x-combined





Comparison: 3Delight vs NVIDIA Iray for Animations

For this animation I’ve rendered the same scene twice in DAZ Studio 4.8: once with 3Delight and once with the new NVIDIA Iray engine. It’s interesting to compare the results in an animation rather than a still image due to the different challenges involved.

One thing is that the subject is illuminated differently depending on how far away it is from the camera. Another is that it’s difficult to get matching end results when mixing faster and slower hardware: Iray can take a long time to finish a render if no GPU acceleration is around.

Continue reading Comparison: 3Delight vs NVIDIA Iray for Animations





How to render DAZ Studio scenes without DAZ Studio

DAZ Studio has one drastic drawback: while you’re rendering a scene you can’t use the app until it’s finished rendering. In fact, DAZ Studio makes use of every available CPU cycle, turning even the fastest computer into something you can’t even check your emails with while you wait for that render to finish.

That’s great for efficiency – but it also sucks because you need a second computer to keep working with, or alternatively use a second computer for rendering while you work with your main machine. Wouldn’t it be great if you could do something akin to Poser’s background rendering, something that lets you setup the next scene in DAZ Studio while it’s rendering at the same time?

I have good news: you can – thanks to something called RIB files. I didn’t know this until recently, and it works a treat. Let me explain how to use this feature.

Continue reading How to render DAZ Studio scenes without DAZ Studio